Category Archives: Business

A little break

I’ve been working some pretty long hours recently in an effort to move through my Customs list and also manage to get a few items finished for inventory. But! I’m going to be taking a little break in a few weeks and I wanted to let you know how that will impact you.

Truth is, it won’t impact you much. 🙂

I’m going to process orders this weekend as usual. Then next week, I’ll process orders on Wednesday (June 4), and then I’ll turn off my computer that night and I won’t turn it on again until June 14 or 15. I’ll similarly ignore (or try to ignore) posts to Facebook and private messages on Facebook.

I cannot possibly imagine anyone needing anything urgently that cannot wait for a week, but if there’s something you feel needs to be addressed immediately, Facebook is probably the best way to reach me. (https://www.facebook.com/wallypopIA)

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Wallypop Tenth Anniversary Celebration – SALES and GIVEAWAYS

I’ve never really known when to celebrate Wallypop’s anniversary. In truth, our “grand opening” was more of a gradual progression. Do I celebrate the date I sold my first diapers over the internet to some friends? That would have been some time in December 2003 or January 2004. Do I celebrate the day that my boss at my full time job finally told me that the stodgy company I worked for was absolutely never going to consider allowing me to work from home, even part-time, forcing me to come up with alternative income streams? That would be some time in March or early April 2004. Sometimes I think I should celebrate the day that a family member declared loudly that I’d never stick with cloth diapering, thus cementing the absolute certainty that not only would I stick with cloth diapers (and why wouldn’t I?) but that I’d do everything in my power to turn it into a successful business. 🙂 That was in March 2004. Do I celebrate the day the website finally went live and I made my first officially-named Wallypop sales? That was in October 2004. I’ve also generally felt like Wally’s birthday in April 2004 is a significant one in Wallypop history, as his name obviously contributed to the name of the company, his pending arrival prompted me to start sewing diapers and carriers, and it is for him that I left full-time out-of-the-house employment.

So, as we approach the birthday of my eldest, the one who is really to blame for Wallypop’s existence, I think we should celebrate. It’s been TEN YEARS, my friends. Ten.

Ten fun and sometimes frustrating years. Ten years of doing what I love for a living. Ten years of trying to both work and parent. Ten years of singing to babies while I stitch. Ten years of helping kids with LeapFrog Preschool on the computer while I cut diapers. Ten years of packing orders and printing mailing labels and excitedly setting each package out for the mailman. Ten years of still being so happy every time someone buys my stuff. Ten years of feel like I’m mailing out little pieces of myself with each order. Ten years of late late nights and early early mornings. Ten years of getting to know my local sewing machine repair shop very very well.

Only 1/3 of businesses survive to their 10th year, according to the Small Business Administration. In the last 10 years, we’ve had to overcome a lot: a TON of new regulations being thrown at us, upheaval in our personal lives, changing tax codes, skyrocketing cotton and wool prices. We’ve watched as parents moved from relying on Yahoo Groups to relying on Facebook groups. We’ve helped establish local babywearing and cloth diapering groups, and watched with pride as those groups have grown and helped turn Des Moines into one of the most supportive places in the nation to cloth diaper or babywear. And those 10 years have also seen an entirely new generation of parents – very very few of my customers from my first year in business are still in the market for baby things now.

It’s been an awesome journey, and we’re so grateful for our customers for both making it possible and taking it right along with us.

BUT, you didn’t come here to read me wax poetic about the last decade. You came here to find out about sales and giveaways.

 

SALE

To celebrate TEN YEARS in business, you can use code TENYEARS for 10% off your entire order at Wallypop and all of our sister companies (DiaperFAB, LemonDrops, and Boulevard Designs through the end of the month (midnight central time April 30).

Coupon terms: Coupon is good on currently in stock items only (including clearance items). Not good for custom items, made to order items, items previously purchased, or items to be purchased in the future. No rain checks. Good while supplies last. Sometimes things oversell and we feel super bad about that but we don’t have a replicator.

 

GIVEAWAY

We’re giving away ten gift certificates! To enter our giveaway, jet on over to our Facebook page and participate in the giveaway thread over there.  The thread will go live April 10.

 

The current situation at Wallypop

It’s been a while since I updated what’s going on around here.

First, a bit of background. Our 2 year old, Teddy, was born with kidney failure. On July 18, 2013, he received a kidney transplant. Though we had some initial bumps, the last two or three months have been remarkably smooth, and we’re hopeful that we might be able to have a few years of healthy, normal life. However, kidney transplant kids tend to have a remarkably high rate of hospital admissions, and these admissions can come out of nowhere. I can’t predict these admissions, and we will continue to work under the caveat that I may have to close things down briefly with very little notice.

Please order with confidence! As always, I have contingency plans in place for sudden hospitalizations, and I’m not going to run off with your money. I try my best to stay in contact with customers whose orders end up in limbo, and I have friends who can come in and complete your orders if needed. All custom work, as explained at the time a customer originally requests a custom spot, is simply put on hold for the duration of any admission.

Teddy’s medical needs are still such that a considerable part of my day is spent doing things with him that “regular” toddlers just don’t need – on top of all the regular toddler stuff. We also still have a considerable number of doctor’s appointments, therapy appointments, etc. I’m still working reduced hours compared to my “pre Teddy” schedule, and keeping slightly lower inventory levels.

I process and mail orders once a week (usually over the weekend). I try to answer emails and phone calls two or three times a week. I am not in my office every day. Generally speaking, I can’t promise to respond to your emails within 24 hours. Even beyond Teddy’s needs, we are a family of five. A family of five who sometimes get sick, leave town, have a few remarkably busy days, etc. I work in my basement, not in an office. I work around my family, not apart from them. If it is really important to you to order from a business that will respond to any communication immediately, then I would respectfully suggest that we are not the right place for you. If it’s really important to you to order from a business that is run by a human who works really hard to provide you with amazingly awesome products at reasonable prices, then I’d suggest you’re in exactly the right place!

Please do not ever feel bad about emailing, calling, asking me to make something for you, placing a special order, or emailing to check on status of your order. That’s why I’m open! If it’s taking longer than you think it should to receive a response, by all means, contact us again – things do get overlooked from time to time. But also please remember that I’m just simply not available to Wallypop 24 hours a day.

Ups and Downs of Craft Business Ownership

I was clearing out some old email today, and got to thinking about the challenges of owning a craft-related business. Or any business, really, but these were mostly emails from Boulevard Designs.

The customer service issues are what particularly vex or delight me. It’s apparently very important to me that people like me, and I have difficulty with the very sage advice dished out in Purple Cow, which I’m currently reading. “You are not your product.” I think it’s easier for people who don’t physically create their own products to distance themselves from their creations. It’s one thing to design something and then have a factory make it for you. It is quite another to design something and then put it together yourself, in your basement, with your children playing at your feet and your husband calling you to come eat dinner already.

I try to overdeliver. I usually try not to purposefully underpromise, but I do try to deliver better than promised. I do not always succeed, and have managed to be fairly kind to myself on those occasions when I do make mistakes. Most of the time, customers are also very forgiving.

But sometimes, I am surprised, as well. One time, I shipped an order to address indicated on the PayPal payment (which is Blvd Designs policy), and then received a complaint because the buyer had wanted it to go elsewhere (and had apparently indicated such when she checked out, right at the same time that she would have seen the message that I ship to the PP Payment address no matter what)*. I explained how that had happened, the purchaser realized where we went wrong, and said it wasn’t that big of a deal, and she LOVED the item. Then she gave me negative feedback. I was practically crushed by this.

Contrast this, though, with a LARGE package I accidentally sent to the wrong address. In another country. And missing an entire line of her address. I mean, talk about mistakes. Holy cow, I was physically ill over that one. And the customer was so gracious. We both kept a close eye on the tracking information, and the package did eventually arrive at her house. She even offered to pay for the difference in shipping, which I refused.

I’ve had customers complain because I delivered their orders earlier than promised. I’ve had customers complain because I shipped their orders as promised, but they wanted them sooner, even though getting them sooner would have necessitated Devine intervention. I’ve had customers (rightly) complain when their orders arrive later than promised or expected. And I’ve had customers who were more than overly forgiving of mistakes, who go out of their way to be accommodating, who are understanding when I’m out of their first choice of product, and their second, as well.

It’s definitely interesting, owning your own business, and having your hands involved in every single aspect of that business. There’s no one else to blame when things go wrong. There’s nobody to back me up, nobody to take the heat, nobody to help solve a problem, nobody to share the workload. But there’s also nobody else to take the credit, to share the glory, or to share the sense of pride in a job well done.

*Note that I’ve since changed the policy.

WAHM vs Factory Diapers

Why should I buy WAHM diapers when I can buy cloth diapers made in China for so cheap?

This is something I increasingly hear out in “the general public.”

Why support a WAHM, instead of buying from a factory?

– You’re supporting another family like yours, instead of a big faceless corporation. You’re helping that family pay their mortgage, or send their kids to dance classes, or eat dinner.

– You’re buying quality you just can’t find in something made in a factory.

– You get unparallelled customer service, because when you email or call, you’re usually talking to the owner.

– You’re keeping your money in your community, if you buy from local WAHMs.

– You’re supporting a small (micro) business. Small businesses are so vital to the health of our economy. Many people assume that *other* people are supporting the small businesses in their communities, and then are saddened when they learn that yet another small local business has closed because everyone else in the area was, like them, going to a national chain instead. They just assumed that the business would always be there. Small local businesses won’t be around forever if we don’t support them by shopping there!

– Generally speaking, you’re saving money. Many factory diapers are not using the top quality materials, and their products fail more quickly than many WAHM brands do. Over the life of your children, you save money by buying quality. (Trust me, for nearly a decade, I repaired diapers as part of Wallypop, and I never repaired a WAHM diaper. I repaired mostly the popular factory diapers, and they fell apart shockingly quickly.)

Jan Andrea from Sleeping Baby Productions has a great article on WAHM baby carriers, and I couldn’t agree more with what she says. It also applies to diapers. She lists out many of the factors that go into the price of the item, and concludes by saying, “In the United States, we’re used to buying things at essentially slave-labor prices. Clothes and accessories that are made in China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and many other eastern countries are priced far below what they really ought to be, if the people making them were earning a fair wage. Instead, we’re able to purchase t-shirts for $5, jeans for $10, etc., not because they’re not well-made, but because the people making them are earning less than $1 per day in many cases. (Not to mention that the people selling them are often earning little more than minimum wage themselves!) Among the many other problems this causes, it also breeds a mindset that price is everything. If it can’t be had for cheap, we don’t want it.”

Ultimately, though, it really just comes down to a choice on the part of the consumer.

I personally prefer to buy my stuff from *people* instead of *companies* when possible. I prefer to buy things made by humans instead of machines when possible. I prefer to support families and mom business owners instead of companies and overseas factory owners when possible. When I spend my money, I want to support other families like mine, if possible.

And I know others just want to buy the dirt cheapest items they can. I can respect that to a certain extent. Everyone has to make choices of what’s most important to them, and some just aren’t in a position to be able to support small, local businesses or to make purchase decisions that save money in the long run, because they need to save money in the short-term. I’ve been there, I understand that.

But if you’re in a position to be able to choose to support work at home moms and dads for part of your purchases, I’d strongly encourage you do to so!

The current situation at Wallypop

As of Monday, August 26, we’re back open and running as normal.

Our 1 year old, Teddy, was born with kidney failure. On July 18, 2013, he received a kidney transplant, and was discharged from the hospital 3 weeks later, on August 5. His recovery is going well, though there are a LOT of ups and downs. We visit the local hospital once a week for labs, and drive the 2 hours to his hospital once a week for an appointment with his nephrologist (which takes essentially the entire day).

I’ve learned from other moms of toddler kidney transplant recipients that we should expect at least one admission this first year, probably a few. Because of his high level of immunosuppression, he will be admitted for any fever this first year, as well as for any number of other things. I can’t predict these admissions, and we will continue to work under the caveat that I may have to close things down briefly with very little notice.

Please order with confidence! As always, I have contingency plans in place for sudden hospitalizations, and I’m not going to run off with your money. I try my best to stay in contact with customers whose orders end up in limbo, and I have friends who can come in and complete your orders if needed.

Teddy’s medical needs are still such that a considerable part of my day is spent doing things with him that “regular” toddlers just don’t need – on top of all the regular toddler stuff.  I’m still working reduced hours compared to my normal schedule, and keeping slightly lower inventory levels.

I process and mail orders once a week (usually over the weekend). I try to answer emails and phone calls two or three times a week.

Please do not ever feel bad about emailing, calling, asking me to make something for you, or placing a special order. That’s why I’m open! Wallypop supports my family and helps pay our mortgage. (It’s considerably less help these days than it used to be, with my reduction in hours, but it is still a help!) When you buy from Wallypop, you’re helping out our family – and we greatly appreciate it!

Testing…. 1, 2, 3 Part II

Alright, so we’ve covered WHY we might want to run a testing program, now let’s talk about HOW.

Ideally, your product development has gone something like this so far:

  1. Get a good idea
  2. Draft a few patterns, sew up some samples, try them out
  3. Change your pattern, sew up a sample, try it out
  4. Change your pattern, sew up a sample, try it out
  5. Settle on a pattern you like well enough, sew up several for yourself using the same materials you plan to use for your “for sale” products, use them for a little while. Abuse them. Wash them in the harshest conditions you can imagine. Drop them. Drag them on the ground. Whatever is appropriate (or, inappropriate) to your product.
  6. Evaluate.
  7. Make any necessary changes.
  8. Sew up a few more and give them to a few friends. Get feedback.
  9. Make any necessary changes.

At this point, you’ve got a product that you’re happy with, that has been satisfactory for you and for a few other people who know and like you. You’re using materials that have held up well to your use. You’re ready to market them!

Right?

WRONG!

This is when you implement your testing program.

Step One: Stop and Think

First, you need to decide who you want to market your product to and what you want to learn from your testing. This will tell you who you want to test your items, and what you need to ask them. It behooves you to take a bit of time and really think through exactly what you’re doing. A haphazard testing program just costs you money and doesn’t provide you with the feedback you need – what a waste!

Take some time to write out who your product is for, how you think you might market it, who you believe will be the main purchasers, how they will use the product, and under what conditions. Write out what you are hoping to learn from the testing. Are you concerned about quality of materials? Comparison to competitors? Fit? Looks? Care? Sizing?

Step Two: Find Testers

My first official “product” that I ever tested was pocket diapers. (I had been selling fitteds for a while before this.) I wanted to know about fit, sizing, materials, and design, but mostly I wanted to know if my diapers compared well to the (few, at the time) others available. Considering this, I wanted to solicit completely random cloth diaper users. I didn’t want someone new to cloth, because I didn’t want inexperience to color their evaluation. But I didn’t necessarily need to screen any more than that, because I wanted a good mix of families who had experience with other pocket diapers, and families who had never tried pockets before.   Some number of years ago, I tested out my Cycle Pads. Not thinking clearly enough, I didn’t screen my testers sufficiently the first go-round, and ended up with a lot of mamas who had never used cloth pads before. The feedback I received was mostly about the experience of using cloth pads, not about the pads themselves. (It was interesting and ended up being useful, as well – but it wasn’t what I was looking for.)

If you’re working on a major improvement or change to a current product, maybe you want to ask current users of that product. If you’re working on a new design of a baby carrier, you might want only families who currently wear their babies in a similar carrier. Alternatively, maybe you want to market your product to families who are not initially attracted to the idea of babywearing, so you want to solicit more mainstream parents. If you’re working on a preemie size diaper, that will obviously affect who you will want to ask.

Now that you know who you want to test your products, you need to find those people. Fortunately, the internet makes this REALLY easy. Unless you’re going to work from your current customer database, you can simply find an acceptable parent-based message board, define what sort of people you’re looking for, and take your pick of the volunteers.

Try to clearly define for your testers – BEFORE you send the product – what you will want from them. Are you going to ask that they use it a certain number of times, for a certain length of time, under certain conditions, etc.? Will they have a survey to fill out, or do you just want freeform feedback? Do they need to pay for the product?

Step Three: Decide Your Policy

Are you going to have your testers pay for their products? The first time I tested a product, I did not have testers pay for the item. 50% of my testers took the free diaper and ran. Yep. Now I have people pay, but a drastically reduced fee – typically enough to cover shipping and at least partially cover the expense of the materials used in the item, so that if they don’t uphold their end of the bargain and provide the feedback they promised, I at least am not entirely out the money that it cost me to get them the product.

I know of some companies who refund the testers’ money after receiving sufficient feedback. And I know of many WAHMs who charge full price for tester diapers, as well.

Step Four: Mail, Wait

Obviously, at this point, you send them the product, then give them a chance to use it. A perfect time to work on…

Step Five: The Survey

What do you want to know? Personally, I always like to provide space to first tell me anything they want to tell me about the product. I always ask for age, gender, and weight of the child, and age, gender, and size of the parent if relevant. Then start on the specifics. What did you think of the fit? Did you like the fasteners? Were there enough options? How does this product compare with others you’ve tried? What brand/type do you usually use? If you could change 3 things, what would you change? What were your 3 favorite things about this? How did it hold up in the laundry? (and how did you wash?) What did you think of the absorbency? If you could choose between the item you tested and a similar item that was purple and made of fairy dust, which would you prefer?

You don’t want to overwhelm your testers, so pick the questions that are most important to you. Keep it to 2 pages with space to write.

I prefer to email surveys out about 2 weeks after the products were mailed out, but I have also printed off the surveys in hard form and included with the products. Some people use the free online survey programs.

Step Six: Evaluate

Hopefully, your testers were painfully honest with you.

Even so, there is usually some reading between the lines. “We had leaking both times we used it overnight, but I really loved it!!”  Focus on “we had leaking” and not so much on “loved it.” They’re telling you there is a problem.

“Never used anything like this before, but it seemed ok.” They’re telling you that they have no basis for comparison, and so they’re not really sure what they think. (think: if you’d never had a vacation before, and then someone took you to… I don’t know… a 3 day BINGO tournament for a vacation, would you think this was pretty OK?)

There are also, of course, outliers. (no, not somebody lying. Look it up.) If most testers said it held up well in the laundry, but one person said it fell apart… it’s probably something unique to that person’s experience. It bears looking into, but doesn’t spell doom for your product. And if one person said they loved the fit, but 20 people said it had big gaps at the legs… probably that one person was the exception, not the rule.

So, bearing those things in mind, read the feedback and take an honest look – do you need to make changes to your product?

Step Seven: Adjust

If you’ve made major changes as a result of your feedback, go back and start this process all over. If not, then proceed to selling your product. Ask your testers if you may use their comments in your marketing, and brag up how awesome your item is!

Testing…. 1, 2, 3…

I am right now testing out a few new products, and will have a few more to test in the coming year (hopefully). It’s been a while since I’ve tested new products, so as I was getting things all ready to go out to the testers, I did a quick internet search to see how the kids are running their testing programs these days.I was surprised (and somewhat appalled) to find that most of the links that Google brought up were to discussions of fellow WAHMs talking about how they don’t bother with testing. “Oh, I sent a diaper to my sister to use and she liked it, and I like it, so it must be OK.”   “I already know my diapers are great, so why would I go to the trouble or expense of testing?” “Testing? What?”  Oy.

So, why do we test new products and what makes a good testing program?

Part I of this series will focus on why we test new products.

New product testing is important for a number of reasons.

1. Maybe you’re the only one who likes your item. Ever thought about that? I have several things I’ve made for our family that work for us and that we like, but other people look at and are mostly puzzled. Sending out your item to a variety of people can at least serve as a screening process before you invest more time and money in your product.

2. Your products get stronger with more feedback. Sure, YOU like your diaper (or whatever). You’ve (hopefully) worked diligently on a pattern that suits you perfectly and used materials you like and you’ve (again, hopefully) enjoyed a few months of successful use. But you are one person, and you are using your diaper on, usually, just one or two kids. Even if you hand diapers out to a few friends, that’s still a REALLY small group – and one that is likely to be of a similar mindset. You want a wide variety of people trying out your items.

3. Verification of size ranges. Let’s face it – most of us WAHMs are just guessing about size ranges on our diapers. (gasp) Testing helps firm up those guesses.

4. Learn of potential major issues before they become a really big deal. The absorbent pad in your all in ones turns into a damp ball in the dryer. Your diaper works great on your skinny kids, but cuts off circulation to the legs in chubbier kids. The straps on your MT start to wear after only 2 times thru the washer. The stitching is uneven, and though you didn’t think it would be a big deal… everyone else notices it.  You only get one time to make a good impression with most customers – testing will help make sure you don’t blow it.

Pitfalls you can avoid through adequate testing:

– Finding out through customer feedback that your PUL delaminates after about 5 washes. Yikes. I know a WAHM who had this happen, and she ended up having to contact everyone who’d purchased from her and refund their money. That is NOT a situation you want to have happen, and it could have been prevented with good testing.

– Deciding, based on customer feedback, that you need to make adjustments to your pattern just a few months after you start selling your item. Yes, all WAHMs seem to be in a near-constant state of product improvement, and that is a GOOD thing. But realizing that you need to change your pattern so soon is a problem. Ideally, you want to be changing your patterns because you thought of something even better… not because you’re getting negative feedback about fit.

– Learning that your diaper just doesn’t measure up to the other products already available.

– so, so many more

The next post in this series will talk about how to design an effective testing program.

Balancing Family and Home Business

Though I’ve written about this in the not too distant past, I had the opportunity to speak with a local MOPS group about working from home earlier this week, and wanted to take a minute to talk about how we make it work at our house.

Wallypop currently takes about 30 hours a week total. This includes order processing time, sewing, inventory management, paperwork, regulatory requirements, cursing the government re: regulatory requirements, accounting, email, etc. Generally, this does not include blogging or Facebook time – I tend to do that stuff during odd moments during the day.

That’s a lot of time, but it doesn’t really seem like it most weeks.

Mornings are breakfast then homeschooling. Genna plays or reads or draws or sits on my lap during this time, and I do things like wash the dishes (by hand, we do not have a dishwasher) and clean in that week’s designated “zone” (a la Flylady) during his work-alone times. We pick up as we go, so we don’t end up with a lot of just “stuff” scattered about.

Whenever we finish school, we make a snack for the afternoon and fix lunch and start dinner (if it’s Tuesday or Thursday, which are my days for dinner). And then we head downstairs, usually by 1. I work until 4 or 5. I take breaks as needed. I emphasize to the kids that they need to get along. They play, usually nicely. Sometimes not so nicely. Sometimes one or both stays upstairs. Wally takes pretty good care of his sister, most of the time. Sometimes, nobody gets along and both kids actually try to annoy each other on purpose and those days are super fun.

Evenings are for family time. Weekends are for family time. With my two exceptions: a half day each weekend is for working, and Thursday night is for working.

We also try to do some sort of activity each week (like the zoo or the science center or something fun at home) and we generally spend one afternoon and evening a week with friends.

As far as emotional balance… some weeks, it’s harder than others. Some weeks I feel like I’m failing at everything, and some weeks it seems like I’m super awesome at everything. Some times, I worry that all my kids are going to remember from their childhood is mommy sewing, or mommy on her computer. (But I know plenty of parents who do not work from home who could say the same thing!) Some weeks, I am more patient than others. Some weeks, I can

Also? Someone asked at the MOPS meeting if the kids help. I am afraid my answer sounded less than charitable, so now I feel the need to explain. No, my kids don’t help with Wallypop. Wally does do most of the chores for Boulevard Farm, and he asks on occasion to help with Wallypop stuff, but he’s just not quite old enough at this point. I honestly can’t come up with a way for him to help in any meaningful way that wouldn’t result in my needing to go back and double check.

He’s 7. I can send him to go brush his teeth and get dressed, and it’s a 50/50 shot whether he comes back dressed and with clean teeth. So, packing orders? Not so much. He’s not great at cutting. I have no confidence that he’d put the shipping labels on straight. He just needs another year or two. (And he is learning to sew, but obviously he won’t be helping in that sense for a LONG time.)

Genna wants to help mama at the sewing machine. And I try to discourage this. Not only because it’s uncomfortable for me (particularly with this big belly!), but because it becomes a safety issue. She wants to help hold the fabric as I sew, and she wants to push the buttons on the machine (I have a button for needle down, and I have a button for Cut Thread). MOST of the time, she’s really good about keeping her hands away from the needle. But her little hands are so fast and she doesn’t realize the danger involved. I just don’t want to see her get her little finger caught. (Also, there’s the fact that her help at this point just slows me down. I am happy to have the kids helping/slowing things down with just about anything else – cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, whatever – but I’d really rather get the working finished up so that we can move on to activities that they will actually enjoy more.)

So that’s how we do it. Working at home looks different for each family, and working at home has looked different for our family over the years. I’m sure this whole plan here will change once this new baby comes, but I”m confident we’ll figure it out and settle into yet another new normal.

Somebody Asked: About Discounts

“I’m buying for twins, what kind of a discount can you give me?”  “I’d like to buy several of the same thing, but I want to know what the price will be first.”

I hear these questions a lot. While I’ve considered changing my policy on discounts like this from time to time, I currently still do not offer package discounts for most situations, beyond the Packages offered on the website.

Here’s why:  I work hard to keep my retail prices low so that they are affordable to all families. (more on that here) I know many resale shops and major manufacturers offer discounts on buying packages of 6-12 of the same diapers, or discounts to those buying diapers for twins, but those shops and manufacturers, by and large, are working with a much higher markup than I am. For some major brands of diapers, the retail markup is double. The diaper the retail store sells you for $20 cost the them just over $10, and cost the manufacturer just $5 or less. They have some margin there to work with.

My margin is much, much smaller. For one, though I buy my supplies wholesale, I don’t buy them in nearly the same quantities as, say, bumGenius. For two, all of my items are made by hand from start to finish. I don’t have a cutting machine. I don’t have an army of workers. I don’t have a factory, overseas or domestically.

If I wanted to open up the possibility of offering discounts for purchases of 10-12 diapers at a time, I’d actually need to raise my regular retail prices, in order to offer the less expensive price to only a few select customers. (So the discount price of our regular instock fitteds would be $9.99, but the regular retail price would have to go up to $13.99 or so, in order to make this “discount” happen. That’s not much of a discount, is it?)

Instead, I opt to offer the lowest price I can to ALL of my customers. I think you will agree that, particularly for their high quality, Wallypop diapers are already at the low end of the cost spectrum. Compare our $12.99 MTO hemp fitted to a Happy Hempy at around $18, for example.

It’s rare that, after I explain this to someone who’s just asked for a discount, that they go ahead and make a purchase. People don’t like being told no. But I cannot, in good conscience, raise my prices for everyone else in order to offer a special discount to just a few customers.